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Sariska tiger died due to strangulation, cremated

The tiger was caught in a snare put up by a farmer to keep animals from his crops.

jaipur Updated: Mar 20, 2018 20:36 IST
Devendra Bhardwaj
Devendra Bhardwaj
Hindustan Times, Alwar
Rajasthan news,Sariska Tiger Reserve
Body of the tiger (ST-11), which died on Monday night. (HT Photo)

The Sariska tiger, ST-11, which was found dead on Monday night, died due to strangulation, the post-mortem has found. The tiger was cremated after an autopsy.

Sariska Tiger Reserve’s deputy conservator of forest Balaji Kari said that the four-year-old tiger died in Kalamedha village of Indok forest area near the field of Bhagwan Sahay Prajapat on Monday after it was caught in a snare put up by the farmer to keep animals from his crops.

“The post-mortem was conducted by a board of doctors in the presence of nominees of the district collector and superintendent of police,” Kari said. He added that the 35-year-old farmer was arrested on the charges of hunting under Section 9 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

Rajasthan’s chief wildlife warden GV Reddy said the department will run a campaign to identify agriculture fields where farmers have put up snares for protection of their crop from wild animals. “The tiger tried its best and struggled to save himself from the snare but the wires were so strong that he couldn’t free himself from it,” Reddy said.

The tiger being cremated by forest officials. (HT Photo)

Reddy and Wildlife Institute of India’s scientist Dr Parag Nigam reached the reserve on Tuesday morning to investigate the case.

The officer said radio collars will be fitted on all tigers. “The central government has sanctioned eight radio collars for STR,” he said.

ST-11’s death comes as a double whammy for Sariska administration, which is working hard to trace tigress ST-5 missing since February 21. ST-5 was last seen with ST-11 in the Umri area of the reserve, officials said.

STR field director Govind Swaroop Bhardwaj said intensive monitoring was going on to search for the missing tigress. “We have set up 80 cameras in the areas where ST-5’s movement was recorded in the past. In all, 121 cameras will be installed in the whole of the STR area,” he said.

Jungle Watch Group secretary Sanjeev Karagwal informed forest officials about the death of ST-11. “The farmer came to my office on Monday evening to tell me about the death. I called the forest officials. In fact, I took the farmer to them in Sariska where he was arrested,” said Karagwal, an advocate.

Forest department officials carry the dead tiger. (HT Photo)

“The death of a tiger raises questions over the monitoring in the reserve because it had a radio collar around its neck and the collar emits a sound when the animal dies. It is strange that no one heard the tiger’s cries while it struggled with the barbed wire around its neck and no one paid any heed to the collar blip,” said Karagwal.

The reserve, spread over 800 sq km, lost all its tigers in 2005 and was repopulated with big cats from Ranthambore. Eight big cats were relocated from Ranthambore to Sariska between 2008 and 2012. Before the death of ST-11, the reserve had 14 tigers – nine females and five males.

The death of ST-11 is the second case after repopulation of Sariska. In 2010, ST-1, the first tiger relocated from Ranthambore, died after villagers poisoned it. The then Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot and the then union forest minister Jairam Ramesh had visited the reserve after the death of ST-1.

First Published: Mar 20, 2018 20:35 IST